December 2017

Six years after the former Ridgeline Golf Course was rezoned to accommodate a developer’s plan to build 39 houses on the property, the Orange City Council restored the original recreational/open space designation
to the site, Nov. 14.

The 2011 ordinance that changed the zoning was enacted by the then-city council at the behest of developer Milan Capital. That ordinance was repealed by the current council, as directed by a Superior Court writ.

The Ridgeline property falls within the auspices of the Orange Park Acres Specific Plan, which has, for 40-plus years, designated the area recreational/open space. When Milan Capital sought a zone change, the community opposed it, and launched a referendum to keep the parcel’s zoning intact.

The referendum appeared on the November 2012 ballot, and voters rejected the zone change. When the city council ignored the voters, Orange Park Acres filed a lawsuit, which eventually went to the California Supreme Court. Last December, the court ruled in favor of the community.

The city was also directed to rescind a 2011 development agreement with Milan Capital. The agreement detailed the proposed Ridgeline housing development and spelled out what was expected/required by each party.
The council was poised to rescind the agreement when Fred Whitaker noted that part of the document stipulated that Milan Capital pay any resulting legal costs. There are still legal fees outstanding, and Whitaker asked if rescinding the agreement would mean that Milan was no longer liable for those costs.

City Attorney Wayne Winthers said that, “Yes, that may well be the case,” and recommended the council defer that action, which it did.

Ridgeline property zoning restored